Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gender-Responsive Planning


Mainstreaming gender in planning is an approach to advancing gender equity that involves addressing gender inequalities in all aspects of development, across all sectors and programs – this is the focus of gender-responsive planning. Gender integration is not simply about ensuring that women’s position is improved within existing frameworks which are dominated by men. Gender is
integrated or mainstreamed when the development process and frameworks are transformed in ways which ensure the participation and empowerment of women as well as men in all aspects of life and especially in decision – making structures.

Government recognize that current indicators of development is most regions reveal that women, who constitute a large percent of the population, remain the majority living in poverty (especially in rural areas), are victims of all types of violence and have experienced the least improvement in their quality of life. Governments’ attempts to address gender inequalities have usually taken place in the context of an ‘add on’ approach based on a particular understanding of women’s position and of planning, rather than in the context of a critical analysis of the political, social and institutional framework. Because of their inherent power imbalances, the dominant frameworks reinforce and promote existing gender hierarchies. Gender analysis and a gendered perspective are frequently missing in the development planning sector.

Development should be an integrated, holistic process that meets peoples’ economic, social, political, cultural and environmental needs and improves the quality of life for all. This understanding of development includes the concept of human development which is measured not only according to economic indicators such as the gross national product but also according to health (life expectancy) and education (literacy and enrolment). The importance of human development for women is the recognition that “if it is not engendered it is endangered (UNDP, 1995). Human development cannot be equitable, sustainable or holistic unless it addresses gender inequalities and the needs not just of men but also of women.


While most current planning methods seek to promote economic growth, gender planning prioritizes the conditions in which women live and work as a site for change. It involves a critical analysis of the gaps between women’s and men’s access to economic, social, political, cultural and environmental resources which enables the development of policy initiatives to correct imbalances – including cases where men are not benefiting equally from the development planning approaches currently is use.
Traditional planning limits the type of interventions that could be made by planning authorities to address strategic gender interests and practical gender needs. In contrast, gender planning is socio-political and technical in nature, assumes conflict in the planning process, and involves transformative processes, characterizes planning as dialogue and critically examines the assumptions that a planning methodology can simply adopt a university applicable set of technical procedures, and that the extent to which planners determine people’s demands and prioritize needs reflects the situation on the ground and the environment.

Development and gender planning converge in respect of the goals of planning. It is logical at assume that, if women constitute the poorest, are the most subordinate and are consistently denied access to the rights, services and benefits of society, then planning, needs to be informed by a gender analysis
which seeks to address the root cause of these gender – based inequalities.

Gender analysis is the critical examination of a problem, issue or situation to understand the root causes of gender inequality or discrimination as it affects women and men in the development process. A gender analysis which focuses on women alone is incomplete. If gender is about relations between men and women then the made side of the equation must also be figured in. If women’s gender identities are to be changed, then men’s must change also. Falling to take account of men’s gender interests’ results in underestimating forces against change on gender. The conflicts and resistance that women face in achieving structural change arise at least in part from the contradictory gender interests of men.

Whether they are complementary or in contradiction, women’s gender interest clearly exists fundamentally in relation to men’s. Expanding the cultural room for maneuver for women must be complemented by expanding the scope of possibilities for men. Men maybe seen as ‘the problem’ obstructing women’s development, but may also be ‘having problems’ of their own kin the current
gender culture. In a strategic perspective for structural transformation, men, at least as much as women, must become the subjects of change.

The ‘gender and development approach’ is built on awareness not only of the differences between men and women but also of the inequalities that emanate from these differences. It seeks to address not only practical gender needs (the immediate material needs of women and men in their existing roles as, for examples, wives and husbands as well as mothers and fathers) but also their strategic gender interests (the necessity of enhancing the position of women in society addressing inequities in employment and production, political participation and cultural and legal status and transforming men’s position to becoming more gender – supportive).

Because men and women have different roles and responsibilities, they also have different needs and interests, identified as practical gender needs and strategic gender interests. Practical gender needs emanate from the actual conditions people experience due to the gender roles ascribed to them by society. Projects can meet the practical gender needs of both men and women without necessarily
changing their relative position in society.

Strategic gender interest point to what is required to overcome the generally subordinate position of women to men in society and relate to women’s empowerment. Such interests vary according to social, economic, cultural, political and environmental context. Most governments now acknowledge the need to create opportunities which enable women to address their strategic

A twin approach is required which identifies the links between practical and strategic need and interests and proposes policy and planning frameworks to address both within institutions. Development responses that remain exclusively within the ‘add on’ project approach tend to be inadequate to meeting strategic gender interests and encourages discrimination of the disadvantaged gender, either male or female, most especially the female gender.

Gender planning should therefore not be seen as a separate, parallel process to mainstream development planning but should transform mainstream development planning to address the needs of women and poor, people generally through an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable process.


The following suggested action points maybe considered in how to carry out gender – responsive planning:

Political Will and Adequate Financial and Other Resources

Some institutions do not have an overarching policy or framework which could be used to guide the promotion of gender equity. An explicit gender policy is required, providing guidelines on how government departments should institutionalize gender internally and respond to men’s and women’s needs in society, such that planning agencies are obliged to implement, monitor and evaluate gender development goals.

• Advocate for political commitment at the highest levels

• Promote participatory democracy and decentralize planning process Development Planning and Macroeconomic Policy Traditionally methods of development planning tend to be based on
efficiency and control and to be driven by a focus on growth. In the process of attaining economic growth, the social development of people and particularly of women has often been neglected.

• Set women’s economic empowerment as part of macroeconomic goals

• Accord value to women’s work

• Use appropriate gender-disaggregated data

• Analyze the impact of economic structural adjustment programs relevant to environmental concerns

• A critical gender analysis of the root causes of social problems is essential Institutional Concerns

Planning tends to have a sectoral bias which results in a fragmented, compartmentalized approach and ignores cross-cutting gender needs and interests.

• Integrate practical gender needs and strategic gender interests through effective co-ordination of planning cycles.

• Establish structures and mechanisms to advance gender equality / equity

• Recruit women as well as men into the planning field

• Introduce gender policy / planning training into planning agencies

• Ensure that systems of governance and planning are accountable, transparent and accessible

• Promote participant involvement in monitoring and evaluation

Public and Private Spheres

Where an attempt is made to improve the position of women, this is usually in the public sphere and does not necessarily result in changes in gender relations within the home. Power relations in the private spheres are among a number of factors contributing to women’s failure to make effective us  of changes in the public sphere to advance gender equity. It is important to create conditions which ensure that the spaces opening up for women to participate more actively at higher levels of decision-making are matched by men taking on more of the work at the household / family and community levels. This can facilitated through gender – aware primary, secondary, tertiary and continuing
education curricula and processes.

Definition of Terms

a) Sex – The genetic and physical or biological identity of a person which indicates whether one is male or female.

b) Gender – Socially differentiated roles and characteristics attributed by a given culture to male or female.

c) Gender responsive planning – The use and integration of the gender and development framework into the entire development planning cycle.

Gender is one of the variables which determine the manner by which development plans and programs/projects impact on different groups of people.

d) Disabled – Those suffering from restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being as a result of a metal, physical or sensory impairment.

e) Impairment – Lacking part or all of a limb, or having a defective limg, organ or mechanism of the body (from British Council of Organizations of Disabled People)

f) Hand – A disadvantage for an individual resulting from an impairment or disability, that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sec and social and cultural factors) for that individual. (from World Health Organization).

g) Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples – A group of people or homogenous societies who have continuously lived as organized community on defined territory sharing common bonds of languages, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits and have become
differentiated from the majority of Filipinos.

h) Ancestral Domain – Areas belonging to ICCs/lps comprising lands, inland waters, coastal areas and natural resources therein, held under a claim of ownership, occupied or possessed by ICCs/lps; It shall include lands, forests, pasture, hunting grounds, burial grounds, worship areas, bodies of water, mineral and other natural resources from which ICCs/lps traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities.

i) Equity – Fairness, a concept of distributive justice which is remedial and is intended to overcome blas, favoritism, and inequalities; It is sensitive to difference and to a changing, rather than rigid social environment.

j) Equality – Having the same rights or status

k) Access – Opportunity to make use of certain resources (material, economic, political, etc.)

l) Control – Ability to define the use of given resources and impose that definition on others.

Disability is caused by contemporary social organization which takes no or little account of people who have impairments. Disability can be removed by improving the interaction of people with the environment.

What are the goals and concerns of the Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development?

a) Goals
• Establish mechanisms/structures for gender responsive policy and program formulation and implementation.
• Put special attention to women in circumstances which are aggravated by national policies and programs.
• Continue conscious-raising, advocacy and affirmative action.

b) Concerns

• Institutionalizing sex-disaggregated data bases
• Mainstreaming gender issues in all aspects of governance
• Victims and survivors of violence and armed conflict
• Prostituted women
• Adolescents
• Disabled
• Indigenous women
• Migrants
• Training and other educational programs
• Information dissemination
• Research and documentation

What are the factors for consideration in developing and Implementing Gender-Responsive programs and projects?

a) Population – Sex, age, socio-economic characteristics, cultural needs and other special concerns of the different population groups.
b) Community – Size, location, socio-economic status, level or nature of organization, and participation, resources available.
c) Role structure – Patterns of major and significant activities, decisionmaking; roles of women, IPs and disabled.
d) Social cohesion – Level of cooperation, coordination, factionalism, conflict or exploitation.
e) Level of self-reliance – Level of self-sufficiency and self-management or governance, available resources, both material and know how.

What are the steps in developing and implementing Gender-Responsive programs and projects?
a) Differentiating the needs – minimum basic needs
b) Determining the causes and aggravating factors – socio-cultural, environmental, economic, political
c) Prioritizing the needs – magnitude of the problem and its implications, availability of resources, levels of readiness to participate and contribute.
d) Determining the appropriate set of Intervention – comprehensive, coherent, logically-sequenced.
e) Estimating the magnitude of interventions – financial, physical
f) Participatory – source of information

What are the steps in developing implementing Gender-Responsive programs and projects?
a) Goal formulation
• Should address the sectoral thrust
• Should be quantifiable with a set of indicators
• Should address the needs of the different groups
b) Strategy formulation
• Should maximize the use of available resources considering the constraints.
• Should include mechanisms, which address the gaps to effective participation of the different groups.
• Should raise the level of the group in terms of economic, political and social positions
• Should consider the time, roles skills and knowledge of the population group.
c) Resource allocation
• Should consider the availability of indigenous resources
• Should consider the beneficiaries’ readiness to participate in the program/project.
d) Institutional development
• Should identify the interrelationships with the plan beneficiaries
• Should develop the capability of the beneficiary group to control and manage their resources and problems
e) Evaluating and monitoring plan implementation
• Effectiveness of the plan to improve the role and status of the population group
• Responsiveness to the perceived and identified needs
• Participatory system involving the beneficiary group in monitoring and evaluating the progress and Impact of the plan.

What are the goals and thrusts of the Philippine plan for gender responsive development?

Goals Thrusts
a) Personal development - Sufficient support systems must be provided to free women’s time and to enable them to acknowledge their own self-worth

b) Family development - Promotion of shared parenting
- Non-sexist rearing of children
- Ease the burden of housework: R&D on affordable and efficient technology and the provision of basic utilities; participation in housing programs
- Institutional support and facilities for preventive measures to family breakdown
- Acceptance and provision of external, institutional support in cases of violence in the family.

c) Political development - Participation in the determination of laws and policies must be expanded beyond the traditional concerns of women.
- Literacy, information and education must be geared to ensure popular participation of
- Affirmative action programs for women’s participation in Congress, local governments,
judiciary, unions and the like, should be organized.
d) Legal development - Legal sanctions must be instituted to promote and protect equal opportunities for women.
- The concerns for women’s equality and development must be incorporated into the
legal system: properly rights, citizenship rights, safety standards and equal opportunities.
- Protective legislation to employed women who are childbearing must be instituted.
e) Socio-cultural development - Non-sexist education must be instilled: textbooks and curricula must not include discriminatory stereotyping, language and career options.
- Urgent attention must be given to women’s health, nutrition and family planning and reproductive health. The latter two must be viewed as a basic right.
- A strong advocacy against stereotyped images and roles of women should be pursued.
- Discrimination against women in religious tenets and institutions must be examined.
- Urgent support systems, including child care support must be instilled.


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